Subtle Secrets of Ghostbusters 2016

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Apr. 8, 2017 at 2:00 AM , Categories: 2016 Remake
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I spent a lot of time working with Paul Feig's 2016 parody remake of Ghostbusters (Don't Answer The Call - It's Coming From Inside The House!) for reviews here on Spook Central and multimedia on the Ghostbusters Wiki. In doing so, I discovered a lot of subtle secrets that you may not be aware of. I'm not talking about the obvious Easter Eggs, like the original actor cameos, the Twinkie ad in Times Square, and the other overt pandering...err, references to the original movies. Some of the secrets I will be presenting today may be known to some, but there are a few that I personally discovered.

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Spook Central's April Fools Day 2017 Prank

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Apr. 2, 2017 at 1:16 PM , Categories: Spook Central
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I don't do April's Fools pranks every year, lest you be able to predict it coming. This year I decided to do one after seeing the site for the band Spook (located at SpookBand.com) pop up in search results for "Spook Central" because their main page carries that title. I thought it would be fun to replace MY Spook Central with theirs for the day.

On the Spook Central Facebook page, I gave a little hint that the prank was coming when I posted that "Spook Central v4.1" was coming this Saturday. The version number is, of course, April 1st - April Fools Day. I tried not to make the hint too obvious.

If you came to Spook Central on April 1st and saw the website of the band Spook, I hope you clicked around to the other pages. I copied over the seven main files that make up their website. For the most part, I left the pages alone, to make the prank look real. However, if you clicked over to the Contact page, the prank would have been revealed to you.

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I don't know how many people I fooled with my prank, though I know that I got a few people. I hope those of you who saw it, enjoyed it.
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Ghostbusters 2016 Soundtrack Artist Annie Stoll Interview

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 19, 2017 at 3:22 PM , Categories: Music, 2016 Remake
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Last year, when I reviewed the soundtrack to Paul Feig's 2016 Ghostbusters parody remake, one of the things that I overwhelmingly enjoyed about it was the album artwork. Between July and September of 2016, I exchanged several e-mails with Grammy-nominated artist Annie Stoll about her work on the album. The idea was to post a mini Q&A on Spook Central at the time. Yeah, I'm quite late in posting this, but better late than never - right? Along with the Q&A are little tidbits of information from the e-mails that she has given me permission to share. I'll call these "Anne Anecdotes" because I love alliteration.

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Hurricane Sandy - Destroyed East Rockaway House Demolished

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 10, 2017 at 11:26 PM , Categories: Personal , Tags: hurricane-sandy
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November 8, 2013

Those of you who were visiting this site four and a half years ago may remember a series of blog posts documenting what my family and I had to endure due to Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. One of those posts was a chronicle of what became of the house that the hurricane forced us to vacate after 23 years when it was flooded with six feet of water. Over the past four years, I have been making updates to that post, adding in brief notes and photos of the latest happenings, and non-happenings. I suspect that I'm the only one who ever knew about the updates, but they were done more for myself and to "document history" than for anyone who visits a Ghostbusters website. In my last update, dated December 7, 2016, I commented, "I have a feeling that when I check on the house again, it won't be there." Sure enough, I was right.

Be forewarned that this is a very image-intensive post.

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Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue VHS Review

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Mar. 1, 2017 at 3:43 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters, Home Video
Over at The Corner Penthouse, I've been porting over all 100+ reviews that I've written over the past 15+ years on various other sites. A new retro review will be posted on every even-numbered day for the next four months, with some truly new reviews slipped in on some of the odd-numbered days as I get them done. This one is more appropriate to post over here at Spook Central.

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This review was originally written on March 10, 2011
Awesome Crossover Special, It's A Shame It'll Never Be Released On DVD

Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue was a half-hour animated drug prevention special starring many of the popular cartoon characters from American Saturday morning television shows, which was simulcast on April 21, 1990 on all three major American television networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), most independent stations, as well as cable networks Nickelodeon and USA.

Cory (voice of Lindsay Parker), is worried about her older brother Michael (voice of Jason Marsden, who would later voice Garrett in Extreme Ghostbusters) because he's started acting differently. When her piggy bank goes missing, her cartoon tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. After discovering it in Michael's room, along with his stash of drugs, the various cartoon characters proceed to band together and take him on a fantasy journey to teach him the risks and consequences a life of drug-use can bring. The villain of the story, besides the drugs, is Smoke (voice of George C. Scott), an anthropomorphic cloud of smoke with a mafioso-like appearance and personality.

The "Cartoon All-Stars" that appear in the special, from 10 different franchises, with their original voice actors, are:

* The Smurfs: Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf (though Smurfette is seen on the poster and VHS cover, she does not appear in the special).

* ALF The Animated Series: Alf.

* Garfield and Friends: Garfield.

* Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, Theodore.

* The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger.

* Muppet Babies: Baby Kermit, Baby Piggy, Baby Gonzo.

* The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer.

* Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck.

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo (although he appears in the special, he is not shown on the poster or VHS cover).

* DuckTales: Huey, Dewey, Louie.

The special was distributed on VHS videocassette by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Disney), but it was only available for free rental, not for sale. This is probably due to the PSA nature of the special and the legal issues with the licensing of the characters for profit. Make a video for free rental only, no profit; sell it, and there's profit. Video stores were given a poster featuring the VHS cover art (you can buy a 11"x17" reproduction) to display in their windows or on their walls to advertise that they had the tape available for free rental, hence the "Rent It Here FREE!" banner in the upper left corner of the poster. I saw the special when it aired back in April 1990 and secured one of the rental VHS tapes from the "previously viewed" section of the video store that used to be in my town. I still have that tape, and will never sell it.
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Official Ghostbusters Creative Assets

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Feb. 20, 2017 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, 2016 Remake
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It was all supposed to be simple. It was never supposed to be a lot of work.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, back in October 2016, Ghost Corps and Sony released a bunch of "creative assets" for the Ghostbusters franchise on the official site at ghostbusters.com/creative-assets/. Thankfully, I stumbled upon that page just a few weeks ago, because it's since been taken down.

The files included a whole slew of images, sound effects, and effects video files, most of which have been used on official Ghostbusters merchandise and as part of the style guides for both the original movies and the 2016 parody remake. These were high-quality, print-ready, multi-layer files in .psd, .eps, .wav, .pdf, .mov, and .tif formats. Here's the blurb from the page to explain why they were so gracious to make these assets available to the fans.
Hi Ghostbusters fans and content creators! Over the past years, we have noticed and loved all of the amazing videos, art, stories, and more that you have created out of sheer passion for the Ghostbusters franchise. We wanted to say thank you and add some fuel to the fire by providing official source materials to help you create even more amazing Ghostbusters creations. You can explore the containment unit below that includes official Ghostbusters art, graphics, sound effects, 3D effects, and more! Let's see what you've got by using the hashtag #CreativeGB! Brought to you by Ghost Corps.
Being that I'm not graphics-proficient, I asked my compadre, Matthew Jordan to convert the images from the print-ready formats (.psd and .eps) to something more accessible to the average computer user, like me (such as .png or .jpg). I thought he could batch run them through one of his programs and have them outputted lickety-split. I thought wrong. Here's Matt to explain more...
Probably the most stunning thing is finding errors in one of the files. (I'm looking at ga_ca2.psd) Little dots towards the top going across. And a minute later I find more dots. All in the two base layers. I hope to god this was only a mistake for the website and not the whole campaign. There is a lot of money on the line, it would be BS to see this as the standard.

I must say this was one heck of a project. It turns out that really at the end of the day, you're are going to have to find someone else if you want the 4 large psd in actual size. I struggled at 3200 X 2--- size. The main image was made rendered at full res in jpg form. I then shrink them down and then made them tif files (to save them as transparent) as png's can't be in color setup cmyk (Photoshop won't allow me to change it to rgb either). I then cheated them into a blank png file in rgb by dragging them in. So yeah, it was a weird bitch. Had photoshop crash a large number of times while figuring out that it can't save those files as rgb pngs.

Had one computer freeze as well at the end. Mostly from over working it and running out of hard drive space (those things require many gigs if you want them in full size).

Weird little treasure I found in the one file, they had the video game version Logo in there in a turned off layer. Had a bit missing on the left side of the logo, but I fixed her up with the cloning tool. Both Slimers (one without any work, the other with a bit of work) have movable iris' so yeah if you want his eyes a different way it can be done.
Okay, so after a tremendous amount of work, Matthew made them into space-saving transparent PNGs. I then figured that I'd share the images by tossing them up on the Spook Central Facebook page as a gallery. Transparencies were lost, which is not a surprise, and no great loss for Facebook viewing. Unfortunately, the nicely formatted gallery description I included, turned into a big jumbled mess of text. I noticed Facebook doing this months ago, but I thought it was just a problem on my end. Matthew confirmed that it's one of Facebook's many screw-ups.

Since my gallery text was a mess, and since the original images are still available on Sony's servers (even though the Creative Assets page has been deleted), and because Matthew has made his transparent PNG conversions available on the Ghostbusters Wiki, I felt it would be best if I put in a little effort and wrote a Spook Central blog post to help straighten this all out and point you to everything.

Matthew deserves a BIG ROUND OF THANKS for going above and beyond the call of duty to do these conversions.

ORIGINAL FILES - Direct links to the files are in the list at the end of this post. PLEASE BE AWARE that these files are VERY LARGE! You will need over 2 GIGABYTES of space and bandwidth if you want to download them all.

TRANSPARENT PNGS - On the Ghostbusters Wiki, on the Ghostbusters Official Website article. For a VERY LIMITED TIME, Matt uploaded the entire set into this 413 Mb rar file. This file can, and likely will, be deleted without notice. For permanent access to the assets, visit the Ghostbusters Wiki.

PREVIEW IMAGES - On the Spook Central Facebook page.

GHOSTBUSTERS 1 & 2 ASSETS
GHOSTBUSTERS 2016 ASSETS
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The Real Ghostbusters Volumes 6 to 10 Sony 2016 DVD Review

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Jan. 30, 2017 at 11:50 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters, Home Video
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Last year, Sony released 10 volumes of The Real Ghostbusters on DVD, which were completely different from The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection 25-disc DVD box set TimeLife released back in 2008. I already reviewed Sony's Volumes 1 through 5, and today I will review Volumes 6 through 10. Before I begin, it is important to note that, unlike the first five volumes, these volumes are currently NOT available in a box set. You can ONLY buy them individually, though I will be reviewing them as a whole.

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Ghostbusters 2016 Official Images & Video

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Jan. 28, 2017 at 5:51 PM , Categories: 2016 Remake
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First and foremost, I would like to explain about the lack of new content. You may have noticed that there hasn't been many new blog posts here on Spook Central or on The Corner Penthouse. It's not for lack of having new stuff to post, that I assure you. I actually have several reviews planned for both sites: Real Ghostbusters Volumes 6-10 DVDs and Lego Dimensions Ghostbusters 2016 Story Pack for Spook Central; other Lego Dimensions stuff and Return of the Living Dead 3 & CHUD 2 Blu-rays for The Corner Penthouse; plus a few other things. I was hoping to post all of this stuff over the past few months, but things have been a nightmare in my real-life, and it recently got far worse. I want to have it all posted throughout February, but it would be foolish of me to commit to any specific dates at this time. I also have to do a computer upgrade, and Raffaele and I want to upgrade the blog and video software used on Spook Central. That will not just require time to do, but also time and effort to deal with any problems that result from these upgrades/changes. Now with that bit of business out of the way...

Last year, Sony released an official parody remake of Ghostbusters that was, confusingly, titled Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters 2016: Answer The Call - The Official Ghostbusters Parody would be a more appropriate name, if Sony wants to keep tacking on subtitles to make the name stupider and stupider. Some people love the movie, a lot of people hate it, and some people dislike but tolerate it (like me). Right now, the people in the first camp will be pissed at me for calling it a parody, but that's what it is. One thing that lampoons another thing is called a parody. It's like how Jim Abrahams and David & Jerry Zucker made an official parody remake of the film Zero Hour!, which they titled Airplane!. Not that Paul Feig's work can even hold a candle to that of Abrahams and the Zuckers, but in terms of being a parody and a remake, they're comparable.

I was granted access to Sony's EPK.tv press site so that I could download and share all of the assets with my readers. I have already done that at the Ghostbusters Wiki, where I am also an admin, and now it's time that I share them here on Spook Central, as well. All of the high-resolution images have already been uploaded and preserved at the Wiki, where you can find them on the Advertising and Promotional Events pages.

As for the videos, I have reluctantly uploaded them to my ScrewYouTube account so that they can also be added to the Wiki. I tend to avoid using ScrewYouTube because of all of the BS video takedowns. They closed my old account 10 years ago due to three bogus copyright claims by parties who claimed they owned videos that they didn't (unless I missed the memo where Viacom bought Ghostbusters from Sony). As of right now, one video below has an appeal pending on it because ScrewYouTube automatically flagged and blocked it worldwide due to copyrights. The first appeal was apparently denied (I was never notified) by "Sony Pictures Movies & Shows", even though as a member of the press with an official account on Sony's EPK.tv press site, Sony gave me permission to download the video expressly for the purpose of redistributing it elsewhere for my readers to view. Currently, the "viewing restrictions associated with the appealed claim(s) are suspended until your appeal is resolved. The copyright owner can respond to your appeal (they have until Feb. 20, 2017) by either releasing their claim, or filing a copyright takedown notification to remove your video. If they decide to remove your video, you'll receive a copyright strike."

I will not embed all of the videos because that will, likely, crash your browser. I know that it will crash mine. So, I'm just going to put up a nice, organized, list of links and call it a day. Videos were uploaded as Sony provided them, so audio volumes were not corrected.

As a reminder, the theatrical cut of the film will premiere TONIGHT at 9:00 pm on the Starz cable channel here in the U.S.

BEHIND THE SCENES/PRESS KIT PACKAGE SOUNDBYTES
Chris Hemsworth
Ivan Reitman
Kate McKinnon
Kristen Wiig
Leslie Jones
Melissa McCarthy
Paul Feig (APPEAL PENDING)

PRESS JUNKET SOUNDBYTES
Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones
Melissa McCarthy
Paul Feig

TRAILER FAN EVENT (March 2, 2016)
Sizzle Reel

SINGAPORE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD EVENT (June 12, 2016)
Featurette
Melissa McCarthy
Paul Feig
Rishi Nath
B-Roll

SINGAPORE PRESS CONFERENCE (June 13, 2016)
Press Conference Soundbyte #1
Press Conference Soundbyte #2
Clip #1 On First Collaboration
Clip #2 On Collaborative Shorthand
Clip #3 On Pride And Excitement For Project
Clip #4 On Leslie Jones And Kate Mckinnon
Clip #5 On Chris Hemsworth
Clip #6 On Cameos And Easter Eggs
Clip #7 On Big Action And Scope
Clip #8 On Appreciation For Original

LOS ANGELES WORLD PREMIERE (July 9, 2016)
Sizzle Reel
Clip #00 Info Slate
Clip #01 Main Cast
Clip #02 Cecily Strong
Clip #03 Andy Garcia
Clip #04 Dan Aykroyd
Clip #05 Annie Potts
Clip #06 Ernie Hudson
Clip #07 Zach Woods
Clip #08 Ivan Reitman
Clip #09 Kevin Smith
Clip #10 Ray Parker Jr
Clip #11 Ray Parker Jr and Ernie Hudson
Clip #12 Pete Wentz and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy
Clip #13 B-Roll

And that's all I have to say about that.
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A Not-So-Rosie Christmas

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Miscellaneous , Tags: holiday_songs
Unusual Holiday Songs

One of the perks of being rich and famous is that you get to torture the public with vanity projects showing off your (lack of) talent, simply because you have the funds and means to do such stupid things. It's even worse when you con the public into paying for you to "play" with your friends. Such was the case with Rosie O'Donnell. After years of doing stand-up and crappy movies (Exit to Eden, Car 54 Where Are You?, Another Stakeout) and failed sitcoms (I'll always remember the long-forgotten 1992 FOX series "Stand by Your Man" - Melissa Gilbert and Sam McMurray deserved better), someone, somewhere, thought to give Rosie a daytime talk show in 1996. For what ever reason, it became REALLY popular - and it generated Rosie merchandise. I remember there being not one, but TWO, dolls crafted in her image: a cartoonish talking plushie (with a freakin' HUGE forehead!), and a more realistic legitimate "Friend of Barbie" doll. If Rosie could get two dolls, why the heck has there never been a Rita Rudner doll?!?

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Anyway, Rosie got rich and popular, so she decided that she wanted to put out a Christmas album, teaming her up with some of the famous (and more talented) people she idolized; like Celine Dion and Cher. A Rosie Christmas was released to a brainwashed public in 1999, at the height of her popularity. To be fair, she did give the proceeds to charity (as far as I know), but that doesn't mean that the album should exist in the first place. Rosie was very popular with children, and some of the songs on the album were performed with then-popular cartoon characters. It's two of these tracks that are the subject of this post.

The sixth track is Elmo from Sesame Street (voiced by Kevin Clash) and Rosie performing "Do You Hear What I Hear?" A minute into the song she fumbles the line "your turn" and they left it in! When Rosie is the best singer in a duet, you know you have a problem. Kevin Clash is so much better as Spinter in the 1990s live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, and as Baby Sincliair in Dinosaurs, but Elmo's the only role that's payed his bills. Good for him, but bad for the sanity of children everywhere.

The eleventh track is Angelica Pickles from Rugrats (voiced by Cheryl Chase) and Rosie performing "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus". Who thought it was a good idea to back the vocals with big band Dixieland jazz music? This song, which is supposed to be sung from a little kid's perspective (which Angelica is), would have worked SO much better with the original's music track - and with just Angelica singing. Why is it that the Rugrats can't get a decent instrumental backing for their songs?


In spite of being some of the worst music you'll ever hear, and being a total vanity project, A Rosie Christmas must have sold well, because a year later there was a follow-up: Another Rosie Christmas. Well, either it sold well, or Rosie was just so rich and vain that she said, "Screw them, I'm doing a second one just because I can." I don't know, and I don't care.


For the complete list of Spook Central's holiday song posts from years past, click here. Thanks to Matthew Jordan for making the "Unusual Holiday Songs" title banner that appears at the top of this post.
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Spinning That Latin Dreidel

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 20, 2016 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Miscellaneous , Tags: holiday_songs
Unusual Holiday Songs

Jewish people have very few festive Hanukkah songs. There's Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song"...and that's about it. Erran Baron Cohen, brother of Sacha Baron Cohen and composer of the original music for "Borat" and "Da Ali G Show", tried to change that back in 2008 with his album, Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah. As promotion for the album, the first single, "Dreidel", was released online for free. You've probably heard the original version of this traditional song. You know, "Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay..." Yeah, that one. Well, if you ever wanted to know what that song would sound like if it were performed by a latin marching band, now you'll get to find out. There's also a music video for the song.




For the complete list of Spook Central's holiday song posts from years past, click here. Thanks to Matthew Jordan for making the "Unusual Holiday Songs" title banner that appears at the top of this post.
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In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

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